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    #1

    in the red dress vs in a red dress

    I read the following in a book.
    ____________________________________
    Scene 2: At the pool party

    Cinderralla: Who is that?
    Fairy: Who?
    Cinderralla: The girl in the red dress, the girl with the lovely eyes, the girl with the perfect face, the girl with the umbrella.
    _________________________________________________

    What is the purpose for the author to use 'the' with countable nouns in the above context? Is there a difference for me to rewrite the following sentence as follows:

    Cinderralla: The girl in a red dress, the girl with lovely eyes, the girl with a perfect face, the girl with an umbrella.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    Are you sure you don't mean "Cinderella" (spelling)?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    Since you are describing a specific person in this case, you would say "the" red dress (and "the" umbrella). You are making a point of singling this person out of the crowd, so all of your indefinite articles would point specifically to what she was wearing, carrying, doing, etc.

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    #4

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    Since you are describing a specific person in this case, you would say "the" red dress (and "the" umbrella). You are making a point of singling this person out of the crowd, so all of your indefinite articles would point specifically to what she was wearing, carrying, doing, etc.

    "You are making a point of singling this person out of the crowd, so all of your indefinite articles would point specifically to what she was wearing, carrying, doing etc" . I don't understand what it mean. Can anybody further explain, please?

    Is there a difference for me to rewrite the following sentence as follows:

    Cinderralla: The girl in a red dress, the girl with lovely eyes, the girl with a perfect face, the girl with an umbrella.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    You need to study the definition of the 'definite article' (the) and 'indefinite article' (a), and their usage. Jill has given you one answer.
    Cinderralla is pointing to a specific girl in a specific, identified, red dress. You have to use "the".

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    #6

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Queeniech:

    1. As you know, the general rule is:

    Use "a(n)" the first time you refer to a noun.
    Use "the" the next time you refer to the same noun.

    Here is an excellent example from a very good book:

    "An intruder has stolen a vase; the intruder stole the vase from a locked cupboard; the cupboard was smashed open."

    2. As you can guess, there are many exceptions to this nice, easy rule.

    3. The same book gives this excellent example:

    I come home from work. I enter my home. I tell my family: "The house on the corner is for sale."

    Why did I use "the"?

    Well, the book explains that many times native speakers do NOT say everything that they are thinking.

    I am thinking: "There is, as you know, a house on the corner." I then start saying: "The house ...."

    4. Do you think that maybe this explanation applies to your dialogue?

    James: Who is that?

    Mona: Who?

    James thinks: "There is, as you can see, a girl in a red dress."
    James says: "I am referring to the girl in the red dress."



    James


    My source for #1 - 3 is A Concise Grammar of Contemporary English (1973) by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum.

    #4 is only my opinion.

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    #7

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You need to study the definition of the 'definite article' (the) and 'indefinite article' (a), and their usage. Jill has given you one answer.
    Cinderralla is pointing to a specific girl in a specific, identified, red dress. You have to use "the".
    I think I know the definition of the 'definite article' (the) and 'indefinite article' (a), and their usage.

    I read the following sentences in my child's exercise book.

    1. My cousin, Angel, is the girl in the skirt.
    2. Janet is the girl who is reading a book.

    Why doesn't sentence 2 use 'the book'?

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: in the red dress vs in a red dress

    Quote Originally Posted by queeniech View Post
    I think I know the definition of the 'definite article' (the) and 'indefinite article' (a), and their usage.
    Respectfully, I don't think you are quite on top of it yet. Your questions illustrate this.
    2. could have used 'the'. But the book hasn't been referred to yet. It's unidentified. The same is true for the skirt in 1, but if it's the only skirt in sight, 'the' is appropriate. There may be many books in room in 2, but only one was being read - by Janet.
    On some occasions, you can use either 'the' or 'a'.
    As a further example, "Janet is the girl holding the/a dog." If there was no other dog in sight, I'd (probably) use 'the dog'. If it was at an animal shelter, I'd use 'a dog' or 'one of the dogs'.

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